In this post I talk about why and how to deschool and ease in to homeschooling.
Welcome back to my How to Homeschool series!
Getting started with homeschooling can be really intimidating. This series is intended to help or inspire new homeschoolers but it by no means a definitive guide to the one right way to homeschool.
Today I want to tackle the combined topics of how to deschool and how I gently ease in to homeschool.
How to Deschool
First, in order to figure out how to deschool and if deschooling is right for your family, lets talk about what it is and what it isn’t.
What is Deschooling?
If you have no idea what deschooling is, you’re not alone. Certainly, it is a jargon-y word and it can also be confused with unschooling.
Deschooling is unlearning what learning looks like.
Deschooling is the process by which you slough off certain notions of how learning ought to look, in order to make space to discover how learning looks for your child.
And importantly, deschooling is different for everyone.
Deschooling isn’t doing nothing. Deschooling isn’t bashing other forms of education.
What to Deschool?
What notions may you carry about education that you may want to unlearn in order to be free to learn in your homeschool journey?
Here are some examples of ideas that dwell within the modern psyche of what an education consists of:
- learning happens in a desk
- learning happens on a worksheet
- learning comes from textbooks and chalkboards
- learning happens standing in lines and between when the bells ring
- learning happens by following directions
- learning happens in tidy and neat subjects
- learning happens at a certain age or else you are “behind”
- learning has only happened if it is proven with a test, grade or project
Why Should I Deschool?
Should you deschool? Isn’t it wasting time? Won’t they be behind?
I say yes! But it is totally up to you. Deschooling is not a pre-requisite to homeschooling. If you haven’t noticed, we are into personal freedom and descision-making.
Here are some reasons you may want to try deschooling:
- your child has lost the joy of learning
- your child has schoolwork-related anxiety
- your child has had trouble with relationships at school and may be feeling vulnerable
- you and your child are having power struggles
- your child had a toxic situation at school in any form
- you have an idea in your head of how school must look at home
- you had a negative experience in school as a child
If these resonate with you at all, perhaps you might want to be open to trying this.
What Does Deschooling Look Like?
Deschooling will look different for everyone.
The main purpose of deschooling is to rediscover a natural love of learning. By backing off and allowing freedom for your child, time and space, they will explore their interests or discover new ones.
Also, I think deschooling is a time to reconnect and prioritize relationship as you transition into home educating and the different dynamic that will bring.
Depending on the age and needs of the child or children, deschooling may look like crafts, sports, play, reading, watching movies, or having adventures.
For us it looked like a lot of time in the gorgeous nature that surrounds us, and of course plenty of books.
How Long Does Deschooling Last?
In some ways, I think I am still unlearning how I think education should work. I think once begun, the process of deschooling continues in the background of the mind… maybe you can never stop!
However, I think most families who deschool take one to several months for this process.
What Happens After I Deschool? (Easing In)
After deschooling, it may feel very unnatural to jump into a full curriculum. Or, your child may be seeking more structure even as you try to give them the deschooling time.
Enter: Easing In.
Easing in just refers to a slow introduction of the new routine. For us, since I always read aloud to my children, easing into homeschool routines through our read alouds has always worked really well for us. In my gentle initial introduction to homeschooling, I eased in by building up on our read aloud picture books or chapter books until we had a whole morning basket time together. I actually “Ease in” after our summer and Christmas breaks too! It works really well for my kids.
I share more about this process and how it looked for us over on my YouTube channel if you’d like to hear me chat!
What If I Need More Guidance?
If you are still looking for some more guidance on deschooling topics, I found a great article for you. It is all about educational rules you need to break! Check it out here.